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Season of Sculpture, Season VII presents “Shared Ground: Eight Artists-Eighteen Installations” by Pamela Beck

ARTdart: There are as many ways to think about art as there are to create it. Join Pamela Beck in her column, ARTdart, as she explores and considers the different perspectives that define the art world.

Many of us have memories of climbing over outdoor sculpture as children; we were free to explore and react to the look, sense and impact of a work of art in its ever-changing natural surroundings. Free from the encumbrances of traditional indoor settings, we experienced art in a fresh and approachable way; sometimes serious, sometimes playful, but always visceral and untethered from rules of art protocol and gallery decorum.

If we were lucky, this was our introduction to sculpture- to be fully engaged, curious and physically interactive without restrictions; and this is exactly the opportunity Season of Sculpture offers to newcomers and established fans alike over the course of the next six months.

Season of Sculpture is a local not for profit, 5O1 [c] 3 organization that produces a biennial, international exhibition of large-scale sculptures along Sarasota’s bay front. It’s free and open to the public 24/7. Their mission is to enrich the cultural and educational experience of residents and visitors. The organization relies on donors, sponsors, volunteers and artists to bring these nationally acclaimed, international invitational exhibitions to Sarasota.

This year, Season of Sculpture presents Season VII’s “Shared Ground: Eight Artists, Eighteen Installations.” Eight highly acclaimed artists of regional, national and international renown, will exhibit eighteen large-scale works throughout Sarasota’s beautiful downtown Bayfront Park from November 16, 2013 through May 2014.

“Shared Ground,” curated by Fayanne Hayes and Andrew Maass, presents sculpture by Heinz Aeschlimann, Hans Van de Bovenkamp, Robert Chambers, Richard Herzog, Linda Howard, Jun Kaneko, Jae-Hyo Lee, and Boaz Vaadia. Docent-led tours will be offered, as well as public and student educational programs.

A satellite exhibition of the artists’ smaller works will be exhibited at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune building at 1741 Main Street in downtown Sarasota from January 7th through May 3Oth, 2014.
As the director of public relations for Season of Sculpture, I’ve had the opportunity to ask the artists about their work. A series of brief interviews with them will appear in this column, starting with Boaz Vaadia.

2OO8 Bronze, boulder & bluestone 86"h. x 12O"w. x 8O" d. A/P, Ed. of 5

Asa, & Yeshoshafat with Dog, 2OO8
Bronze, boulder & bluestone
86″h. x 12O”w. x 8O” d.
A/P, Ed. of 5


2O13 Bronze & bluestone 91"h. x 36" w. x 36" d. 2/5, Ed. of 5

David, 2O13
Bronze & bluestone
91″h. x 36″ w. x 36″ d.
2/5, Ed. of 5

Boaz Vaadia Bio:

Vaadia was born in Gat Rimon, Israel in 1951; He was a self-taught artist until he could afford to attend the Avai Institute of Fine Arts, from which he graduated in 1971. He taught himself welding and stone masonry and built his first casting foundry for bronze following his graduation.

In 1975, he was awarded his first, of two, American-Israel Cultural Foundation grants to study in the US, where he has lived and worked ever since, in New York City.

Vaadia’s unique sculptures, either in bronze or stacked bluestone slate, evoke his Israeli heritage in a meditative, contemporary, yet sensual style. His work is permanently sited in numerous public collections, as well as museums and private collections throughout the U.S. including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Museum; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Time Warner Center, NYC; The Ravinia Sculpture Park, Chicago; the Independence Park, Tel Aviv; and The Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, FL.

PB: How long did you think about this sculpture before working on it?
BV: Most of my sculptures take several years of thought and study before I begin carving.

PB: Who/what are some of your influences, artistically or otherwise?
BV: Mainly ancient stonework, but also sculptors like Michelangelo, Noguchi, and Giacometti.

2OO9 Bronze, boulder, & bluestone 76" h. x 12O" w. x 1OO " d. 1/5, Ed. of 5

Family with Dog, 2OO9
Bronze, boulder, & bluestone
76″ h. x 12O” w. x 1OO ” d.
1/5, Ed. of 5

PB: How do you anticipate that your sculpture will look different in the bay front setting?
BV: As my work is layered I believe it will connect well with the environment, looking as though carved by winds from the bay.

PB: What made you choose to do a work of this size?
BV: My work is based on the human scale, allowing viewers to interact with it in a more personal way. The natural materials I work with also help determine the size of my work.

PB: What is your favorite hobby or pastime other than your art?
BV: Meditation and spiritual studies.

2O13 Bronze, basalt & bluestone 65"h. x 9O"w. x 8O" d.

Maaka & Revaham, 2O13
Bronze, basalt & bluestone
65″h. x 9O”w. x 8O” d.




Pamela Beck

Pamela Beck

Pamela is Public Relations Director for Season of Sculpture and a private art consultant. She co-owned Pannonia Galleries in NYC. There she was also an art appraiser, private art dealer, art fair exhibitor and catalogued paintings, drawings and sculpture at Sotheby’s. She was Communications Director for The Essential Element. Pamela has a keen interest in the arts and supporting Sarasota’s future as a lively, diverse and forward thinking city for young and old. Pamela is a member of The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota, Curatorial & Acquisitions Committee and Institute for the Ages Volunteer.


People, Places, Things – Philip Pearlstein Retrospective

March 2 – June 16, 2013
Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL

As he approaches his 90th birthday and a nearly 75-year career in 2014, the eminent realist painter Philip Pearlstein remains as creative, vital, and iconoclastic as ever. Especially known for his large-scale nudes posed in the studio, he has also painted extraordinary portraits, landscapes, and historic monuments and sites.

Philip Pearlstein’s People, Places, Things is the most comprehensive retrospective of his art to date and features 62 paintings, drawings, and prints. Many have never before been seen by the public or outside of New York City. This stellar exhibition opens Saturday, March 2, and continues through Sunday, June 16. MFA exhibitions and educational programs are sponsored in part by The Stuart Society. The Tampa Bay Times is the Media Sponsor.

Philip Pearlstein (American, born 1924) Two Models and Four Whirly-Gigs (2007-2008) Oil on canvas Private Collection Courtesy of the Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York

Philip Pearlstein (American, born 1924)
Two Models and Four Whirly-Gigs (2007-2008)
Oil on canvas
Private Collection
Courtesy of the Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York

Distinguished independent curator Patterson Sims has developed the exhibition with the full participation of the artist and the Betty Cuningham Gallery in New York. He has also worked closely with Hazel and William Hough Chief Curator Jennifer Hardin and the MFA staff. Mr. Pearlstein will discuss his life and work with Mr. Sims in a public conversation at the Museum on Saturday, March 2, at 3 p.m. Dr. Hardin will conduct a Gallery Talk on Sunday, April 14, at
3 p.m. Both are free with MFA admission.

“The MFA is honored to present the work of this American master,” said Director Kent Lydecker. “Philip Pearlstein once said, ‘I trust my eyes.’ That trust, vision, and talent have taken his art to new heights. It is a privilege to see the full scope of his career in this exhibition.”

Born in 1924 in Pittsburgh, Mr. Pearlstein first received national recognition in high school. He won the Scholastic Art Award for his Merry-Go-Round (1940), the earliest work in this retrospective. That youthful painting was reproduced in LIFE magazine. He continued his studies at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University), where he formed a friendship with fellow student Andy Warhol (then Warhola).

Other early works were created near Jacksonville, Florida, where he was stationed for training during World War II. He produced a series of watercolors focusing on army life and the tropical landscape, and later served in Italy, designing signs and diagrams and sketching symbols for maps.

Philip Pearlstein (American, born 1924) Superman (1952) Oil on canvas Gift of Betsy Wittenborn Miller and Robert Miller The Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y. Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

Philip Pearlstein (American, born 1924)
Superman (1952)
Oil on canvas
Gift of Betsy Wittenborn Miller and Robert Miller
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y.
Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

After graduating from college, Mr. Pearlstein set off for New York with Warhol, where for several months they were roommates. Mr. Pearlstein married Carnegie Tech graduate Dorothy Cantor in 1950 (they have three children). His powerful painting Superman (1952), from The Museum of Modern Art, made him a forerunner of Pop Art. Mr. Pearlstein completed an MA in art history at The Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and began his career as a highly respected and popular professor of art, first at the Pratt Institute, Yale University, and then for many years at Brooklyn College, where he is a Professor Emeritus.

During his time at Pratt, he produced expressionist landscapes and other works in response to Abstract Expressionism, but as Mr. Sims notes, by late 1961 “…Pearlstein had a revelation: highly objective realism was the most radical and compelling direction he could pursue.”

Mr. Pearlstein presents his models together and singly and in highly unusual poses. The perspectives are compelling and parts of the body, including the head, are sometimes cut off. The models usually do not look at or particularly relate to each other, or the viewer. He has increasingly positioned his models with a wide array of objects, seemingly turning human figures into still life elements. Reflections in mirrors add another dimension to his compositions. These juxtapositions of figures and objects create tension and complexity.

According to Mr. Sims, “Pearlstein’s dispassionate eye has viewed clothed bodies no less unstintingly than naked ones.” He has painted more than 160 portraits of family, friends, and some more famous subjects like Henry Kissinger. The survey displays that portrait, as well as those of fellow artists Chuck Close, Scott Burton, Rackstraw Downes, and the young Andy Warhola (around 1948).

Philip Pearlstein (American, born 1924) Scott Burton (1975) Oil on canvas Collection of The Greene Family, Philadelphia

Philip Pearlstein (American, born 1924)
Scott Burton (1975)
Oil on canvas
Collection of The Greene Family, Philadelphia

From his art history studies and extensive travels, Mr. Pearlstein developed an intense interest in well-known monuments and historic sites. His eye for detail emerges clearly in such works as View of Rome (1986) from the MFA collection, two depictions of the Great Sphinx of Giza (both 1979), Angkor Wat (1999), and the expansive Jerusalem, Kidron Valley (1987-1988), from the collection of the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum.

Mr. Pearlstein’s work is in more than 75 public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He is a former president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the illustrious New York honor society comprised of 250 architects, composers, visual artists, and writers.

255 Beach Dr NE St Petersburg, FL 33701

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Syd Solomon Dabbert Gallery

Sarasota has an art history, how about a future?

by Joan Altabe

In the beginning… Soldiers returning from WWII came to town to make art their life. One of those soldiers was Syd Solomon, whose legs were frostbitten during the Battle of the Bulge. He was told to live in a warm climate and came to Sarasota on the first day of 1946. Solomon stayed on into old age to become an internationally recognized painter known for his abstract renditions of the area’s light and land. “When I landed in Sarasota, it was the high point of my life,” he told me in an interview in 1988.

Solomon knew at once that the town was for him because its art scene was already active and well-known. And throughout the years, artists have been drawn to Sarasota for its natural beauty and for the attention paid to art making.

Syd Solomon Dabbert Gallery

"Joust" by Syd Solomon 1951– Gouache (Dabbert Gallery, Sarasota)

You might say our art history began in 1931, when art lover John Ringling, whose circus wintered in Sarasota, founded his museum, along with the School of Fine and Applied Arts of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – known today as the Ringling School of Art and Design. Staffed by 15 faculty members, the school attracted landscape and marine painters from the North.

But even before Ringling’s school began to draw World War II veterans intent on studying art under the G.I. Bill of Rights, the Farnsworth School of Art opened in Sarasota in 1941, attracting students from the United States and Canada and from as far away as the Dutch East Indies.

The Farnsworth School was founded by the husband and wife team of Helen Sawyer and Jerry Farnsworth, two New York City artists with established reputations.

Helen Sawyer Dabbert Gallery

"Soriee" by Helen Sawyer – Oil on Board (Dabbert Gallery, Sarasota)

Sawyer’s New York exhibit credits included the Whitney Museum of American Art, which acquired her work. Many of her paintings have been reprinted for greeting cards by the American Artists Group. Farnsworth’s work also is in the collections of the Whitney, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His portrait paintings – 23 of which were reprinted for Fortune Magazine and 10 for Time Magazine – included likenesses of three presidents: Truman, Roosevelt and Harding.

The couple opened their school in a leaky, made-over cleaning and pressing shop, later they moved it over a garage and then into the original post office in the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport. Students flocked to the school, and over the next 30 years, more than 5,000 came – ultimately to a location on Higel Avenue on Siesta Key. By 1970, classes had to be limited to about 35 students with tuition costs beginning at $60 for a two-week period.

Farnsworth students were so serious about their work, Sawyer told the Herald-Tribune in 1970, “If anyone would ever hum or whistle while they worked, they would be hissed.” Many of these students liked Sarasota so much, they made it their home, and in the process, made the town’s reputation as an art center.

Jerry Farnsworth Dabbert Gallery

"Pony Tail" by Jerry Farnsworth – Oil on Canvas (Dabbert Gallery, Sarasota)

One of these was the late William Hartman, the first artist in his home state of Michigan hired under the Federal WPA Program of the Arts. He came to Sarasota in 1946 to study art under the G.I. Bill at the Farnsworth School, the Ringling School and the Hilton Leech Studio, begun by noted landscape watercolorist and teacher for which the school was named.

Leech, a nationally known artist and long-time member of the celebrated American Watercolor Society, came to Sarasota in 1931 and helped organize Ringling’s school. His own school thrives to this day as Friends of the Arts and Sciences.

“Many good artists were already in Sarasota, then,” Hartman told the Herald-Tribune in 1986. He met his future wife, Martha, when both were art students at the Ringling School; they opened their own gallery and school in Sarasota in 1952.

Hilton Leech Dabbert Gallery

"Hidden Lake" by Hilton Leech– Watercolor & Mixed Media (Lee Corbino Galleries, Sarasota)

The couple was so popular that a Herald-Tribune article in the `50s commented: “If there were an election to select royalty in the Sarasota art field, it is safe to say that most people would vote for Sawyer-Farnsworth.”

Speaking about why they chose Sarasota in which to live and work, Sawyer has said, because, “Here we find congenial friends, indoor activities in the fields of music, art, theater; outdoor activities; sailing, fishing, swimming. And such a variety of subject-matter for painting! The swamps and forests of the back country for landscapes and the shores and waters of the Gulf; tropical fruits, flowers, vegetables and sea things, as well as fisher-folk and circus folk. So here we find the spice and substance of the good life.”

The good life in Sarasota inspired paintings that earned Sawyer raves from noted critics. Ernest W. Watson, early editor of American Artist magazine, wrote of Sawyer’s depictions of Siesta Key beaches in 1949: “Always she paints to express a mood rather than to record a particular scene – the threat and fury of seas and sky rather than a particular place in time of storm.” Elizabeth Luther Cary, writing for The New York Times at the time, compared Sawyer’s thunderclouds to Francisco Goya’s and found the 19th-century Spanish master’s wanting. Lauding Sawyer’s skies, she said, “We may think of Goya’s carnival scenes under stormy skies, but I cannot recall any by Goya in which the battle of the two extremes plays such a passionate part.”

Always, though, the good life for Sawyer included teaching, she said. “Teaching never became hum-drum. I fed my students my eyes, my heart. They all swallowed them whole and did the most marvelous things.”
Inspiration for local artists also came from the presence of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which wintered in Sarasota.

Ringling Poster

Circus Poster

“One of the great things we used to do was put on a circus art show. Only circus subjects. It was great,” said Solomon, who studied with the Farnsworths, in a newspaper article. “Jurors invariably included someone from the circus – one of the great performers or one of the great entrepreneurs like Buddy North. It was a very important theme show, and perfectly natural for Sarasota.”

The likes of Sawyer, Farnsworth, Hartman and Solomon put Sarasota on the art world map, and both art makers and art lovers have been colonizing here ever since. The Sarasota County Arts Council has reported a data base of 3,000 people who define themselves as artists and live and work in Sarasota today.

Yet, something is missing. We boast the birth of an arts community. The question is, have we grown? With all the boutique-y galleries, tourist art and match-the-slipcover decorator stuff, not to mention Sarasota signal monument on our bay front – the monstrous “Unconditional Surrender” – it feels as if fine art has moved to another town.

Joan Altabe

Former visual arts critic for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Bradenton Herald, former New York City art teacher and longtime award-winning art and architecture critic for U.S. and overseas publications, is referenced in “Who’s Who in American Art” and “Who’s Who of American Women” and currently writes as the St. Petersburg art Examiner and National art Examiner. Altabe has written several books including “Art Behind the Scenes” (100 painters in and out of their studio) and “Sculpture off the Pedestal” (25 sculptors in and out of their studio). Both available at Amazon.com.

Romare Bearden close up from "On the Block"


January 28 – May 6, 2012
The Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art is pleased to present Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections, an exhibition of approximately 70 works of art that span the career of this internationally renowned artist. Bearden (1911-1988) is widely regarded as one of the most important African-American artists who worked in the United States during the 20th century. He has been the focus of many solo exhibitions, including presentations at the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. In 1987 he was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Ronald Reagan.

Romare Bearden close up from "On the Block"

Works assembled from public and private collections will highlight Bearden’s mastery of collage as well as his development of narrative and thematic explorations of his native South. This exhibition, which will be on view in Charlotte and Newark during its national tour, coincides with the centennial of Bearden’s birth and will examine how the South served as a source of inspiration throughout his career (a theme that has not been previously explored). Through visual recollections of his experiences in the South, Bearden meticulously recorded the ritual forms, or the “collective beliefs,” that imbue his works with archetypal significance. These visual metaphors hold in perfect balance the literal and the symbolic; with them he celebrated and eulogized a lost way of life and the feelings and values associated with the past. Among the large thematic groupings will be selections from The Prevalence of Ritual series, which includes many works referring to Bearden’s childhood home in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

Bearden spent many summers during his childhood with his paternal grandmother and great grandparents in Mecklenburg County, and absorbed stories and observations about the rituals of daily life—the relentless toil of cultivating crops, formidable women tending lush gardens and mixing herbal remedies, blue wash day Mondays, Friday night fish fries, Saturday night revival meetings, and church-going Sundays. These experiences, which stood in stark contrast to the urban rhythm of his parents’ New York City household, left an indelible impression on him.

Romare Bearden close up from "On the Block"

In the early 1940s, Bearden began giving visual form to his boyhood memories. The works in his Southern Series, painted in tempera on brown paper, are characterized by strong colors, flattened perspective and stylized, highly formal compositions. Paintings such as Folk Musicians (1942) and The Visitation (1941) are examples of Bearden’s depictions of agrarian life, as well as his portrayal of emotional bonds common to all humanity, but particularly informed by an African-American experience.

As Bearden developed his collage technique in the mid-1960s, he made use of a wide ranges of art practices, both Western and non-Western. His studies of masters of European, African, and Classical Chinese art enabled him to draw on styles that he felt were timeless and historically durable. The fragmented images Bearden gleaned from magazines and arranged as a whole are as much a part of the content of his compositions as are the events and people depicted. His use of collage, which emphasizes distortions, reversals, telescoping of time, and Surrealistic blending of styles enabled Bearden to convey the dream-like quality of memory and active imagination and was therefore a perfect vehicle for images of his memories of the South.

Bearden returned to the South in the 1970s as his career was beginning to gain momentum. This homecoming in his late mid-life proved bittersweet. The region was undergoing urban renewal, and already traces of Bearden’s past had been erased. Perhaps this nostalgic experience imbued Bearden with a greater sense of urgency to both celebrate and eulogize a lost way of life, a theme that would inform his artwork for the remainder of his days. Bearden developed a complex iconography that spoke to these developments.

Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections was organized by The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC.